The MBA has enjoyed a long, profitable reign as the top degree program for business-minded professionals, but all signs point to the end of its tenure in the coming years. Gone is the aspiration to rise to an executive position within an established corporation, and in its place, is the desire to forge your own startup, be your own boss. Because most MBA programs are designed to springboard low-level workers into high-paying management positions – not help entrepreneurs gain the requisite knowledge and skill to start a company from scratch – the MBA is an increasingly impractical credential.
If you are considering starting a business, and you have long coveted the prestigious MBA, here are a few reasons you should rethink your education goals.
You Can Learn on the Job
Literally, everything you learn in an MBA program, you can learn in the real world as a business leader. Instead of wasting money and time acquiring knowledge and skill in a ‘safe’ environment, you should be eager to discover how real markets react to your ideas and strategies. Though you will make mistakes, you will learn greater lessons than sheltered MBAs do, and you will likely find success much sooner.
You Can Rely on Employees
The best entrepreneurs are jacks of all trades, meaning you should have some experience in most business fields. However, that does mean that you will have weaknesses; you will never be a master of all the skills your business needs to thrive. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a master of anything – instead, you can hire masters as your business needs them.
If a single person could effectively manage a large, successful business alone, you better believe Bill Gates would have continued running Microsoft from his parents’ garage. Employees fill gaps in your expertise and lend additional energy. Thus, you don’t need an MBA to teach you everything about running a business; you can merely add experts to your team as necessary.
You Don’t Need the Credential
Perhaps the biggest boon MBAs provide graduates are those three recognizable letters after their names. Hiring managers are immediately attracted to applicants with MBAs because obtaining the degree demonstrates career commitment, provable knowledge, and skill and advanced maturity.
However, because you are starting your own business, you shouldn’t be worried about appealing to recruiters. Instead, you should be focused only on those efforts that will improve your business. Some entrepreneurs see earning an MBA as a safety net should their entrepreneurial dreams fall flat, but if you are dedicated to building your own business, you don’t need to protect your fall.
You Will Do More With These Degrees
Because you will gain business leadership skills as you build your business, because you can hire the world’s top talent to fill your weak areas and because a successful entrepreneur has no need to impress others with advanced education credentials, you don’t need an MBA. However, that’s not to say that you won’t use other training or education. After finally recognizing that an MBA won’t do you good, you should instead commit to chasing one of the following degrees, which can do much more to support your entrepreneurial endeavors:
Roughly 1.35 percent of all startups around the world are related to the tech industry. If you hope to break into tech, you need to know the theory behind hardware and software, which means you need a CS degree.
Essentially any product your startup creates requires a team of engineers to design and perfect it. By taking engineering classes online, you will be better prepared to manage engineers, who tend to be unique and atypical employees.
At a certain point, business owners merely become lead marketers for their companies – consider Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Arianna Huffington. You can settle into this role more effectively with some advanced training in marketing.
Because user experience is increasingly affecting how business leaders make decisions, a background in psychology can be especially useful to entrepreneurs. With an understanding of psychological processes and tendencies, you can develop appropriate tests and offer ideal products and services.
Contrary to what you might expect, English degrees are all-around beneficial, especially for entrepreneurs. Through English coursework, you’ll improve your writing and reading comprehension and boost your analysis and problem-solving skills.